Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: PANP 001135, 00852, 000164, 000969 et 001159

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. PANP 001135, 00852, 000164, 000969 et 001159 is issued.

Purpose:
Activity affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Description:
The Wasstrom’s Flats, Millard, Paskwaw Mostos, Sugar Creek and Waskesiu Community Fuel Break prescribed burns are planned for the spring and could impact Species at Risk bats, most notably Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus) and Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). The fires are planned for early spring, just after snow melt, which varies from year to year. Little brown myotis and Northern Myotis are typically establishing their maternity roosts and rearing their young from late May to July so there is a chance that the prescribed fire will be completed even before the bats are active. The use of these areas by bats is unknown, but if bats are present and the spring (and therefore burning) is later in May, fire would be expected to harass individual bats and possibly damage or destroy some maternity roosts.

Start Date: 2018-04-20   End Date: 2028-04-20

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Saskatchewan

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
Alternatives: Prescribed fires are part of PANP’s strategy to achieve its vegetation management goal of maintaining the full complement of vegetation successional stages and indigenous species that would be expected in the park as a result of natural processes. Specifically, the Wasstrom’s Flats, Millard, Sugar Creek and Paskwaw Mostos prescribed burns have the added purpose of restoring and expanding native fescue grasslands. Aspen and tall shrubs readily invade these seral fescue grassland areas in the absence of periodic wildfire disturbance which serves to displace this woody vegetation. The Waskesiu Community Fuel Break was created during the winter of 2001-02 to provide a line of defence for the community from wildfire. This prescribed fire is intended to consume 100% of cured fine fuels and ladder/downed fuels within the unit boundaries and is required for maintenance of the fuel break. With these purposes of fire in mind, the only reasonable alternative to reduce the potential impacts to SAR bats would be to adjust the timing of fire to avoid the bat maternity roosting period. The only other feasible time for the fire to be implemented would be late summer and early fall. However, spring burns are preferable to fall burns because fescue grasslands are much more resilient to burns earlier in the spring and a high intensity fire required for greater mortality of woody species is more achievable in the spring. Fall burning would not achieve high enough fire intensities in the presence of green grass and aspen foliage to effectively manage the Waskesiu Community Fuel Break. Mitigations: The main mitigation measure is to conduct the prescribed burns as early in the spring as possible to avoid the maternity roosting period to the best of our abilities. A date of May 28th (based on Environment and Climate Change Canada bird nesting data) has been established as the day when all burning operations must be completed. The burn prescription requires specific burning conditions to ensure the fire will spread at a manageable speed, and will not get out of control. The burn prescription predicts a relatively slow moving and shallow burning fire. The burn speed will be much less than an out of control wildfire, and should allow time for mother bats and pups to find safety if they were to be threatened by the fire. The Waskesiu burn is intended to be a limited to a ground fires only and is expected to be completed in one burn period. Jeopardy to survival or recovery: The population and distribution objective for the areas not yet affected by white-nose syndrome (which includes PANP) is to maintain (and where feasible increase) the current level of the populations. Although it is known that maternity roosts are important to these species, there is insufficient data to determine which maternity roosts are necessary for their survival. Known hibernacula are considered to be critical habitat, however, there are no known hibernacula in Prince Albert National Park. Overall, the impacts of forest fires on bats are not well known. Although it is possible that forest fires kill bats directly and also destroy existing roosting habitat, it is also acknowledged that fires can create available snags for bat roosting and or/increase local prey availability. Fires are natural processes in the boreal ecosystem, and mother bats have the ability to fly away with their pups in the event of a fire that may destroy a maternity roost. The area proposed to be burned for these 5 fires is approximately 6300 ha. While this is a considerable area, some of it is comprised of grasslands, and there is an abundance of mature forest that is suitable for bats in the surrounding area. Given this information, these prescribed fires are not expected to jeopardize the survival or recovery of Little Brown Myotis or Northern Myotis.

Contact Person(s)
Parks Canada
Species Conservation and Management
Natural Resource Conservation
Parks Canada
30 Victoria Street 3rd floor
Gatineau, QC
J8X 0B3
Tel: 888-773-8888
Fax: 819-420-9273
pca_sar.registrycomments@pc.gc.ca

Date modified: